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Understanding Bequest Motives An Empirical Analysis of Intergenerational Transfers

  • G�nther Fink
  • Silvia Redaelli

This paper analyzes one of the major factors underlying old agents' saving and consumption decisions - the individual intentions to leave bequests. We present two simple model of altruistically motivated bequests and use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to confront the theoretical implications of the two model with empirical evidence from the survey data provided. The main findings from the data are the following: First, there is strong evidence against a strictly accidental, and in favor of intentional bequest motive for a significant share of agents aged sixty and older. Second, we find the probability to leave an inheritance is mainly driven by wealth and individual characteristics such as health, education, race and religion, but not directly dependent on the heirs' wellbeing, contradicting the standard altruistic model of bequest.

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 042.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:042
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  17. Masson, A. & Pestieau, P., . "Bequests motives and models of inheritance: A survey of the literature," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1273, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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